Author: eringoboro

Duran Duran w/ Neon Trees 09/27/11: Club Nokia – Los Angeles, CA

Duran Duran w/ Neon Trees 09/27/11

Club Nokia – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Eringoboro

I’m really excited to post this review! I thought I’d be exhausted and grumpy rolling in to the office Wednesday morning, but there really is nothing like a post-concert high when you’ve been to a great show.
Last night, my soon-to-be-husband (6 more weeks ’til I’m “Mrs. Stover”!) took me to see Duran Duran at NOKIA Theatre at L.A. Live. I was stoked, because it’s a fun band, and because I had yet to see a show at NOKIA. Usually I hate arena shows because the sound is lousy, but NOKIA is a way smaller venue, and built for concerts, not sporting events. The sound for both opening act and main event were spectacular.
But enough about venues, on to the real meat and potatoes!

Neon Trees

Neon Trees, a band with roots in California and Utah, were the opening act. I had really wanted to check them out before getting to the show, but I just didn’t have the time with my hectic schedule. I was pleasantly surprised! Their look totally fit in with the 80′s theme of the evening with the Flock Of Seagulls hairstyles, motorcycle jackets, and lead guitarist Chris Allen’s GREAT homage to Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen in a purple jacket with black and white checkered pants. Their drummer, Elaine Bradley, looked adorable in an edgy-yet-feminine black glitter shirt with a cute teal flower. The entire set I listened with open ears to their pop-rock sound, and was impressed by the musicianship of the band as a whole, as well as frontman Tyler Glenn’s vocals obviously inspired by Bono, Brandon Flowers and Duran Duran’s own Simon Le Bon. They seemed to have a bit of a following throughout the theatre, and Adam and I were enjoying their stuff, but unfortunately didn’t know anything they were playing…

until their closing song, Animal, which we’ve both heard tons of times (and I’m pretty sure everyone has heard it on commercials, Glee, the radio). I was extremely impressed once I heard their big hit because it sounded exactly like the album – meaning they’re not overproduced like much of what’s out today (even Glenn acknowleges how rock and roll has lost its edge and “everything’s all Lady GaGa”). A solid set with a great closing song definitely warmed up the crowd for the main event.

Around 9:15pm Duran Duran takes the stage playing “Before the Rain” then hitting the ground running with their very first hit, “Planet Earth,” rocking from past to present with the title track off their new album “All You Need Is Now.” A one-two punch to get everyone dancing, and dance we all did – into the fire! – as they segued into their James Bond Theme “A View to A Kill.” The house was rocking and never stopped the whole show, even through the slower hit of “Come Undone.” The first camera zoom to guitarist John Taylor drew screams from all the girls, and Simon Le Bon’s vocals were impeccable the entire evening – impressive since he just got over serious laryngitis that had to cancel several shows earlier this year. Le Bon & Co. went through a broad spectrum of their catalogue and played nearly every hit, including “The Reflex.” Performing another single off of their most recent album, Le Bon dons an acoustic guitar for the sweet ballad, “Leave a Light On,” which was lovely both melodiously and lyrically.

Following my personal favorite, “Notorious” (which I went nuts upon hearing the first “NO”) , the show was about to close after the hits “Hungry Like the Wolf,” and “Sunrise,” leaving the crowd screaming for an encore. We definitely got what we wanted with “Ordinary World,” “Wild Boys” (with a little bit of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” thrown in for good measure), and ending what I can only call the evening as a “huge dance party” with the infamous “Rio,” that anyone walking down Chick Hearn Court was singing on their way home.

I really hadn’t had this much fun at a concert in a long, long time, and everyone around me was having a blast. I would definitely go to another Duran Duran show, and will absolutely be seeking out more shows to see at NOKIA.

Here’s one last clip of “Ordinary World.”

Barenaked Ladies Got to the Greek — July 22, 2010

Barenaked Ladies (w/ Angel Taylor & Kris Allen) 07/22/10

Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Eringoboro


In the summer of 1998, the HORDE festival made a stop at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Like any other teenager in upstate New York at the time, Blues Traveler was on my top ten list of favorite bands, and I was longing to get tickets, yet I didn’t have a chance to go to the SPAC show as I was working at a summer camp. However, a friend of mine did attend, and as he kept singing “If I Had $1,000,000,” I’ve discovered a new favorite band. Self-proclaimed nerd-rockers Barenaked Ladies. Obsessed isn’t even the word for it; I was in love with their musicianship and their comedy. I made quick to the used record store to buy all their albums (at the time, “Stunt” was the most recent). I played their albums non-stop, notably Rock Spectacle, Gordon and Maybe You Should Drive – “Enid” off Gordon made it on as my senior quote for yearbook, even.

When I was a lonely freshman at Edinboro University in the autumn of 2000, I called in on a whim and won tickets from a local radio station in Erie, PA for their Maroon tour at the (formerly known as) Gund Arena in Cleveland, OH. I finally got to experience firsthand how every fan has said their shows are a real fun experience. The on-stage banter between songs, the high-energy, the boy-band-esque dance-offs… I had a blast.

Fast-forward to 2010. A lot has happened in my life in ten years… graduated college, moved to Atlanta, then to Los Angeles… and saw that a blast from my past were playing the Greek – right up the road from my house! Since none of my friends are really fans, I decided to just purchase a single ticket off StubHub the night before the show, while only four seats were left. Boy am I happy I did…

I’m cheap, and I didn’t want to pay for stacked parking and never get home, and I don’t mind walking where I have to go (so there, Missing Persons!), so I found a quiet street with ample lighting to leave my car, and set off on a long, uphill trek through Griffith Park. (Bonus – I didn’t feel as guilty for skipping the gym this lovely evening.) The walk is very scenic with some absolutely gorgeous houses lining the path.

I unfortunately missed Angel Taylor’s set. She was the first opening act. I was a little sweaty when I got to my seats, but the very nice lady sitting in the row by me didn’t seem to mind; in fact, she was impressed that I trekked up the hill on my own. Funny story: It turned out that the three other seats on StubHub didn’t sell… because Ms. Taylor and her family were the ones sitting in the row next to me (aforementioned lady was in her party) – I didn’t even realize it was her until Ed Robertson called her up on stage to sing “Every Subway Car” early in their set (and her party then left, giving me half of the entire row to myself – thanks!!). By the way, Ms. Taylor is drop-dead gorgeous, has a very sunny personality, and I checked out her music when I got home, and she’s pretty great.

Roughly 15 minutes after I got settled, Kris Allen took the stage as the second opener. I Googled him before going to the concert, and was a little put-off that he was an American Idol winner, as I am typically not a fan of the pop music that comes from that franchise, and I don’t watch the show, but needless to say, I was very impressed with this guy. He sang nearly everything off of his new album, and totally surprised me by covering “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead. Unfortunately, the younger audience didn’t seem to recognize the song, and the venue was still pretty empty. He finished out with a fantastic cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” which sounded more like the Aerosmith arrangement, but this kid rocked it. Mr. Allen was a pleasant surprise with his very crisp vocals and gritty rock music from his band. I hope he sticks around for a while; I’d see him again, for sure.

Before the Ladies took the stage, I started to feel a little apprehension. I was always a Steve girl, so I really didn’t know what to expect from this show. Some fans I knew of were saying that they’ve seen prior shows and commented that it was “sad,” or “not very good.” I was still expecting a good show, thinking they’d just primarily do Ed and Kevin’s repertoire of the old, and lots of stuff from the new album, All In Good Time (which is a very solid album being the first as a foursome, by the way, I recommend y’all take a listen). No, Ed brought the big guns and didn’t shy away from Page’s songs, such as “The Old Apartment,” and shockingly, “Blame It On Me” from 1992’s Gordon.

Kevin Hearn and the boys brought a unique twist to Page’s “Sound of Your Voice” from Barenaked Ladies Are Me (“BLAM”), as he played a quiet, yet very solid, lead vocal with solely an acoustic guitar, while Ed, Jim and Tyler bring the funny (and the talent) backing Hearn up barbershop-style. Typically, I’m not a fan of Kevin’s songs (sorry), but Thursday night changed that. I very much enjoyed “Sound of Your Voice,” but even better was Hearn’s tickling of the ivories and strong vocals on his own “Another Heartbreak.” Kevin, you’ve come a long way, baby, thanks for convincing me.

The highlight of my evening was Jim performing “On The Lookout” on the piano after a very sweet story about how he wrote the song for his wife while they were hiking in California. Jim has never really had too many album solos, but with Steven Page’s absence, he’s getting his chance, and it’s great that he is. Creeggan has a very smooth vocal that I am really itching to hear a lot more of on future albums. But then, I have always had a soft spot for Jim for the sole fact he plays a string bass AND a Hofner a’la Macca.

Ed’s vocals were a little weak on some songs, mostly Page’s higher-range, but I still give him cred – he’s working double-time, now. He’s still a fun performer, completely rocked his own songs of “Pinch Me,” “Easy,” “Falling For the First Time,” and the crowd-pleasing set-ender “If I Had $1,000,000.” Of course he brought the rhymes with “One Week” and “Four Seconds,” the latter being lots of fun with drummer Tyler Stewart, who has also stepped up in the vocal department by being a full-time backup harmony.

The trademark Boy-Band Jam came late in the show, with Kevin on keys singing “Oh-Oh It’s Magic,” segueing into Tyler belting “Empire State of Mind,” Ed’s beatboxing pushing into a hilarious and quite coordinated finale of Justin Beiber’s “Baby,” BEP’s “I Gotta Feeling,” and Katy Perry’s new single, “California Girls.” It’s a well-known routine that the guys do this at every show, but they continue to keep it fresh by using newer songs every tour.

I was all smiles upon leaving the Greek. My only regret was that the show wasn’t longer. I missed Steve, but the show was a lot of fun, and two nights later I still have a post-concert high (and I don’t mean the kind I could smell all over the Greek at the show). If you’re a fan of the Ladies, but are hung up on Page leaving the band, go anyway, you’re still going to have a blast.

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